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Review Showcase
446 Hours played
----- SUMMARY -----

Grade : F D C B << A >> S
Main Pro: That stellar, MegaMan-esque feeling of empowerment
Main Con: Lacking diversity of content

----- OPENING REMARKS -----

Please be aware that this review is focused on the singleplayer aspect of 20XX (as opposed to the co-op aspect.)

----- FULL REVIEW -----

Its gotten to the point where someone says XYZ-inspired and I figuartively roll my eyes. Its not that said games can't be good or even great, but invoking titles like "Super Metroid" or "Super Mario 64" makes it hard to separate very lofty expectations from the new game in question. Its easy to have a resemblance to something, but much more difficult to properly encapsulate everything that made a classic special.

And so I open with that to say: well played, 20XX. You showed me.

No, this is not MegaMan X. This game has a lot of the same core as MegaMan X, but the roguelike aspect of this game really twists it into something all its own. So does the term "MegaMan-inspired" still hold weight then? It does, but it does in one very specific way. If anything, 20XX takes one thing from MegaMan X and smashes it out of the Strike Man stage: that progression of power throughout a run.

I'm going to assume for the sake of this review that you don't need MegaMan explained in detail: its run-n-gun platforming where you fight bosses, steal their tech and slowly become a walking robotic armory. 20XX takes that latter idea and runs with it hard. While the "secret" areas housing powerups are far more telegraphed in this game due to its roguelike nature, the selection of available uprages is incredibly extensive. One run you might have ridiculous charge shots that go through shields and the next you might have several speed upgrades coupled with an air-dashing ability. Discovering synergies and bulldozing the opposition with them can be oh so satisfying.

Indeed, the equipment diversity is fantastic. You have alternate default weapons, repros (read: pet drones,) and prototype augments that do... interesting things. Play safe, play tactically, play wild. You decide. Some boss weapons slide into well-known stereotypes, but I would say all of them feel useful and nuanced. You also aren't restricted to one weapon at a time and can bind boss weapons to secondary controls, which is HUGE (you can finally use your shield power and buster at the same time!) Remember armor upgrades from MegaMan X? We've got those too: four entire sets, as of me writing this review. Seriously, the accumulation of power throughout a run can culminate in some pretty amazing moments.

Combat is king in this game, even if other echos of MegaMan feel a little lacking at times. For one, there are only four level themes right now (two bosses per each theme.) Despite this, the four zones are very distinct from one another. The bosses, though they employ some very unique gameplay mechanics, don't feel as iconic or memorable as those from the MegaMan series (Vile Visage is a notable exception, though!) The music falls into a similar category for me: its great music to play the game to but it doesn't strike me in the same way some of those old nostalgic tunes do.

Some people may also be put off with the roguelike aspects... a major concern that kept me from purchasing the game for awhile. Permadeath is present; only one life (and no continues) per run unless you're playing on the "casual" difficulty. The "one life" aspect also means that insta-death has largely been done away with. Some people may breathe a sigh of relief that spikes no longer kill on contact, while others may be ready to raise their video game pitchforks. The game does feature some "hardcore" difficulty modifiers though, like the ability to restore spikes to their former glory...

As for me? I'm down with the concessions and changes made here. Because what 20XX gets right, it REALLY gets right. 20XX feels like an instance where it zeroed in on a specific aspect of an old classic, and made it soar. The tactical combat is absolutely fantastic, and everything else does a great job of holding that key point up. I not only respect 20XX for its tight focus, but sincerely enjoy it.